Virginia is for bike lovers – or at least this Sunday it will be as the 34th annual Anchor House Ride for Runaways kicks off from Staunton, Virginia, just 50 miles from scenic Natural Bridge.
The annual charity bike ride raises money for Anchor House, the Trenton-based nonprofit that provides emergency shelter and other services for runaway, abused and neglected children in the greater Mercer County area.
In 2011, the ride raised more than $500,000 to keep the doors open at Anchor House. The money raised each years covers about a third of the organization’s annual operating expenses.
Tonight, almost 200 cyclists will head to Hopewell Valley High School to load their bikes on a truck bound for Virginia.
This Saturday morning, the Ride for Runaways will kick off with a farewell celebration at Waterfront Park in Trenton from 7 to 8 a.m.
The cyclists will then board buses headed for Virginia, and spend the next seven days pedaling back to the Trenton area. They will begin the return journey early Sunday morning in Staunton, stopping in Woodstock and Winchester before they enter Maryland. After a night in Frederick, Maryland they will head to historic Gettysburg, Pa. They will then make stops in scenic Lancaster and Kulpsville before marking their 500th mile at The Lawrenceville School on Saturday, July 14.
The cyclists will average about 75 miles a day on the 7-day ride. The longest day will be 80 miles. The route includes a four-mile climb and numerous smaller climbs.
“There are a few more hills than usual this year,” said Anchor House veteran and route designer Brian McLaughlin of Ewing. “But it is going to be a very scenic route with lots of rural roads.”
For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation visit www.anchorhouseride.org or call (609) 278-9495.